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|The Rosary is
considered to be the first prayer, after the Eucharist for Catholics, and
the principal devotion of the faithful and has been in use all through
the centuries, from the time of the apostles and disciples down to the
present. It incorporates the life of Christ within the four mysteries and
twenty decades. However it was not until 1214 that the Church received
the Rosary in its present form. St. Dominic received it from the Blessed
Virgin as a means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners.
St. Dominic's work in France was hindered by the sin of the people, who as 'christians' were the bad example blocking his apostolic work. He spent three days and nights in agonised prayer and harsh penance. Our Lady appeared to him and told him that the principal weapon was the prayer of the Angelic Psalter, the foundation-stone of the New Testament. St. Dominic went on to preach the beauty, power and efficacy of the Rosary for the remainder of his life, forming a Confraternity of the Rosary.
Like most things in life, changes came about and praying the Rosary went into decline. War, pestilance and schismatic division within the church overtook Europe and lasted for many years. In 1460, Blessed Alan de la Roche, a Domincan in the same province as that of St. Dominic, received a vision from Our Lady, urging him to re-kindle the devotion to her Psalter - the Rosary.
St Dominic appeared to Blessed Alan as well and told him of the great results of his ministry, preaching the Rosary unceasingly, and that his sermons had borne great fruit and many people had been converted during his missions. He encouraged him to preach and pray Our Lady's Psalter. He gave Blessed Alan the history of his own revelations from Our Lady and this became the famous writings known as De Dignitate Psalterii.
From the time Saint Dominic established the devotion to the holy Rosary up to the time when Blessed Alan de la Roche reestablished it in 1460, it has always been called the Psalter of Jesus and Mary. The 150 Hail Marys emulated the 150 psalms in the Book of the Psalms of David.
For simple and uneducated people of the time they were unable to read or say the Psalms of David so the Psalter proved to be just as fruitful for them as David's Psalter is for others. Mary, in Her wisdom, had brought this simple prayer to the people of the day. Blessed Alan preached this simple but powerful prayer as prayers going up to heaven as roses. Thus the prayer became known as the Rosary or 'crown of roses'.
On October 16th. 2002 Pope John Paul II introduced a new mystery, the Mystery of Light, focussing on Christ's ministry while on earth and this beautiful mystery is now recited on a Thursday.
Our Lady approved and confirmed the name of the Rosary and has revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary they are giving her a beautiful rose, and that each complete Rosary makes her a crown of roses.
Many saints and devout people have continued to preach the Rosary and in the early 18th century Saint Louis de Montfort gave us the means of understanding and praying the Rosary. His miraculously inspiring book, The Secret of the Rosary, is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it in 1715. The most common manner of reciting the Rosary is the method that originated with Saint Louis' preaching. You can download this booklet as a zipped file - secret.zip.
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